By Hudson George
Caribbean politicians are supposed to know that, when their political party controls all the seats in the lower house of parliament in a British Westminster style democracy, it does not give them the right to dismiss criticism from concerned citizens. For example, in Grenada there are no elected opposition members of parliament in the lower house. So, presently it is up to us as Grenadians to play the role as opposition when we are not satisfied with government policies that affect us.
However, in our present political situation there are some important issues to address. Issues such as the construction of new hotels on Grand Anse beach, the Caribbean Court of Justice and the dangerous usage of deadly pesticides that are killing citizens in the rural communities.
Basically, all these issues are affecting ordinary citizens the most but, because the population is religiously divided politically between the two main political parties, some of us are now looking at those issues as party politics, rather than the people’s interest that can affect us presently and the future generation.
Based on my observation, it is blatantly clear that most visible social activists who have a vested interest in politics are refusing to address the issue pertaining to the usage of dangerous pesticides in the farming communities, even though they are aware of the deadly effects these chemicals have on human lives.
Unfortunately, they are turning a blind eye on the issue because they are more interested in the politics of tourism and saving our sea coast and marine lands. I personally, believe that all those issues must be addressed.
Furthermore, I personally support a vibrant tourist industry for Grenada. I think it is a good policy of investment because our beautiful beaches, blue sea waters and different colours of sand are some of our natural resources and we should be able to make money from them by attracting visitors to our tri-island nation. In addition, farmers can sell their products to business persons within the tourist industry to make a comfortable living.
On the other hand, I do not support any foreign or local business investors who want to claim any part of our beaches. The coastline of Grenada and all the beaches belong to us the people of Grenada and no government whatsoever should allow business people to encroach on the beach and construct any concrete structure.
Every Caribbean country is different. So, if there are private beaches in other neighbouring countries that have a vibrant tourist industry, that does not mean that we as Grenadians would allow rich people to come to Grenada and take away our attractive resources from us. However, it is very important that the government does the right thing by making sure that hotels owners respect the rights and freedom of all Grenadians, regardless of class, colour and race.
In addition, in terms of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) issue, I think that those lawyers who are advocates for the CCJ are disrespecting Grenadians, by saying that they have to educate citizens about the benefits of CCJ. So, I am wondering if these big-time lawyers are not aware of the difference between the word “education” from the word “indoctrination”.
However, any kind of quick fix lecture and literature that will be given to the Grenadian people to vote yes for the CCJ is basically indoctrination to believe in something but not really educating the people about the issue. I personally believe education is based on facts and not beliefs.
Now, in relation to the issue of dangerous pesticides affecting citizens in the rural communities, it all boils down to the fact that the ministry of health and the ministry of agriculture have no interest in health and safety of farmers and other persons who are living in the farming communities.
Cancer is on the rise in the rural communities because of pesticides. People are dying and the authorities do not care. They are still importing hazardous pesticides and the innocent and naïve farmers are still using them.
Unfortunately, nobody really cares because farmers are considered as lower class citizens. So, if those in authority can cooperate with the people, and in the interest of the people, no concrete structure will be built on Grand Anse beach. There will be no more importation of dangerous pesticides in the country and no persons with legal training will be given the privilege to indoctrinate citizens to vote for the CCJ. Because indoctrination is not education and beliefs are not really proven facts.
However, as Grenadians we have the right to criticise the government because there is no elected opposition in parliament. If we remain silent the government will not be able to serve our interest. We have to wake up our elected politicians and tell them that they are our elected servants and they are supposed to govern the country in our interest.